[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Sam_and_Max_TV_Series_Cover_6092.jpg]]
->'''Max''': ''I never dreamed we could have this much fun and still be suitable for young viewers!''

The ''[[Franchise/SamAndMaxFreelancePolice Sam & Max]]'' cartoon series premiered on {{Fox}} in 1997 (and aired on Creator/{{YTV}} in Canada) under the full title ''The Adventures of Sam & Max: Freelance Police'' and lasted only 13 full-length episodes, with 24 individual stories. The show faced some inevitable {{Bowdlerization}} in heading to children's television, but make no mistake: it was made for fans of Sam and Max first and for kids second.

During the initial 2006 run of the first season of episodic Sam & Max games by TelltaleGames, the portal/publishing partner Gametap aired the episodes for free online (no longer available for viewing there). They were released on DVD in 2008 by Creator/ShoutFactory and can still be bought through the TelltaleGames website.

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!!Tropes featured mainly in the cartoon include:

* AdaptationExpansion: Darla "The Geek" Gugenheek is a cartoon-only creation filling the role of gadget provider. She works in the basement of the office.
--->''(Sam and Max are being sucked into Darla's school science experiment)''
-->'''Max:''' "That's COOL!"
-->'''Sam:''' "Wanna come live in our basement, devote the rest of your life to fighting crime?!"
-->'''Darla:''' ''[flat]'' "Okay."
* ArsonMurderAndJaywalking:
-->'''Refrigerator Repairman:''' ''[Inspecting a fridge]'' What seems to be the problem?\\
'''"The Geek":''' Well, for starters, it's possessed by some unearthly presence, it sneaks up behind me a lot and it doesn't keep my soda cold.
* AttackOfTheFiftyFootWhatever: the episode ''AAIIIEEE Robot'' has a host of 50-foot whatevers invading Tokyo and the Moon Cockroaches from the adaptation of ''Bad Day on the Moon''.
* {{Badbutt}}: Both main characters in this adaptation.
* BarefootCartoonAnimal: Sam, as usual.
* BreakingTheFourthWall: At least OnceAnEpisode.
* CanonForeigner: The Geek, who has yet to appear anywhere else.
* ChristmasEpisode: ''Christmas Bloody Christmas''.
** This episode formerly qualified as KeepCirculatingTheTapes, as it only aired on Fox once, and was never included in the syndication reruns. Eventually averted with the DVD release.
* ClipShow: Parodied and lampshaded with ''The Final Episode'', which is a Clip Episode composed by clips which are original material for the episode.
* ComedicSociopathy: They still manage to get some in at least.
--> ''A refrigerator monster morphs into a basket of kittens making PuppyDogEyes to try and avoid being roasted by flamethrowers''
--> '''Sam:''' Gee, I don't know anybody who could firebomb kittens...
--> '''Max:''' Here, let me!
* ContinuityNod:
** In one episode Sam mentioned how his grandma said "Idle hands are the devil's monkey bars". A couple episodes later we see her herself and she instead says "Idle hands end up in the machinery.".
** We see one of the Mole Men with a Mole Woman underground a couple episodes after they were featured.
* ConvenientEclipse: How Sam and Max get out of pretty much every situation. Hilariously lampshaded at one point.
--> "I think that I'm going to close this window for no good reason."
* CryptidEpisode: "Little Bigfoot" has Sam trying to rescue a young Bigfoot working as a busboy and return him to the wild. It turns out [[spoiler:he isn't a Bigfoot, just the son of a sideshow freak.]]
* CutHisHeartOutWithASpoon: Max offers up an especially funny threat to Arlo over his annoying verbal tic:
--> '''Max:''' ''"I'll make you a deal: you end one more sentence with the word 'Man,' and I get to remove one bone, of my choosing, from your body."''
* DemonicDummy: Deadly Dangly Deever. However, the original Dangly Deever (who averts the trope) is still around, and he helps Sam and Max round up his evil doppelganger.
* DeusExMachina: The Rubber Pants Commandos show up here, too.
* DiabolicalMastermind: Mack Salmon.
* DontTryThisAtHome:
--> '''Sam:''' Remember kids, we're professional cartoon characters. Don't try this at home!
* DoomyDoomsOfDoom: One of the kidnapped repairmen in the first episode constantly yells "We're doomed man, WE ARE DOOMED!", much to the other characters' annoyance.
** His name is even Hudson, in keeping with the ''Film/{{Aliens}}'' parody.
* EstablishingSeriesMoment: In the first episode, there's a "Last time, on Sam And Max", showing them in a bottle being poked by a nerd, [[HoYay having a wedding]] (Sam as the bride and Max as the groom), fighting an octopus underwater, riding a boar in the jungle, and parodying the Disney/TheLionKing intro just before the rock breaks, it's as if the show was saying, "Yeah, the intro didn't convince you this was gonna be crazy? ''Now'' do you think it's crazy?".
* FamilyFriendlyFirearms: the duo's favorite handguns are no-no in the animated series; flamethrowers and rocket launchers are kosher though.
** Like all the attempts at {{Bowdlerization}}, Purcell and company waltzed around this one, too; Sam is seen sporting his trademark giant revolver (albeit loading it with [[AbnormalAmmo rubber bullets]]) in the opening of ''Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang'', and normal firearms are shown numerous times throughout the series even if they are rarely fired.
*** In ''Tonight We Love'', the president's bodyguards openly fire on the Freelance Police, with real bullets. Well, one is a realistic bullet, the others seem to be a [[CartridgesInFlight whole bullet, shell and all, fired, but not detonated, from the guns.]]
** In a cross between a lampshade and a parody, they put their fingers into a gun shape and brandish them as such, ala 4Kids' ''Anime/YuGiOh''.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: It's peppered with innuendo and {{Parental Bonus}}es. Some people have commented to Steve Purcell that they were surprised how much the show got away with.
** Purcell has also mentioned that in some small towns, MoralGuardians tried to get the show pulled for that reason.
** Some jokes would probably also go [[ParentalBonus unnoticed by kids]], if this applies here. Two stand out in ''Christmas Bloody Christmas''
----> Sam: The Prison Showers. If these walls could talk...
----> Max: *shudders* They best keep their mouths shut.
----> *In the very same scene*
----> Max: *Bends over to pick up a bar of soap, a sign on his bum labeled "Do not open till Christmas*
*** Due to ExecutiveMeddling, the show is not able to depict blood when discussing the function of the heart. Sam informs us of this [[LeaningontheFourthWall while standing in front of a red-colored background]]
** The lines spoken by Max as he and Sam are being picked up by a helicopter, leaving a stereotypical attractive secretary adrift on a raft in a major shipping lane.
--> Max: "Don't worry miss, a boat will come come along soon and that means sailors, yup. you'll get picked up all right"
** The hitman in ''The Final Episode''.
** In ''We Drop At Dawn'', Max finds Arlo in a bush. A ''cannabis'' bush.
* GoshDangItToHeck: No matter how intense the situation is, this is never subverted.
--> '''Max:''' [[MobyDick from heck's heart, I stab at thee! For pete's sake, I spit my bad breath at thee!]]
** Except, oddly, in ''We Drop At Dawn'' where Sam's narration contains the line
--> Sam: "We were to be air dropped into a virtual hell on Earth in order to engage in a life or death offensive in order to locate and retrieve the Commissioner's lost keys."
** Also, Max does say "God's Sake" at one point, even though in all the other episodes, "Gosh" seems to be the word that they can use. Ex: The extremely forced, "Good Gosh" Spoken by the Geek.
* {{Hammerspace}}: Max, naturally.
-->'''Sam:''' (watching Max produce an object from seemingly nowhere) Wow, Max, I didn't know you were a marsupial.\\
'''Max:''' Me neither! Whatever that means.
* HongKongDub: Parodied in ''The Second Show Ever''.
* HypocriticalHumor: Max is the one to tell Sam not to mess with the past, Sam agrees, only to find that Max is teaching his past self how to beat up a bully, [[LampshadeHanging Sam calls Max out on the hypocrisy]].
* IDoNotLikeGreenEggsAndHam: ''The Glazed MacGuffin Affair''. Plus, half of the duo ''is'' named Sam, so you get two {{Shout Out}}s for the price of one.
* ItCameFromTheFridge: ''The Thing That Wouldn't Stop It'', a monstrosity born of Darla's leaky chemicals and a frozen steak dinner.
* LargeHam: Max gets his ham volume turned up somewhat. (Probably to make up for the parts of his violent side they couldn't show.)
* LetsMeetTheMeat: [[spoiler: It's what the monster of the first episode really wants. Sam is all too happy to oblige.]]
* LighterAndSofter: Due to the AnimationAgeGhetto, the titular duo couldn't carry their realistic guns, the humor and plots were a bit more Looney Tunes slapstick, among other things. That said, fans still like it.
** According to some interviews, since they weren't allowed to be too Dark in the Cartoon, they decided to grab everything else which make Sam and Max, like the weirdness and the ParentalBonus, and upgrade them UpToEleven.
** Steve Purcell has said that the show's use of bazookas and rocket launchers instead of handguns and firearms both placated the censors and brought the show closer to the spirit of the original comic.
* LoonyFan: Lorne, [[{{Leitmotif}} THE FRIEND FOR LIFE!]]
* McGuffin: The titular Glazed McGuffin from ''The Glazed McGuffin Affair''
* MediumAwareness: They know they're in a TV show all right...
--> '''Sam''': Looks like the party's over. I think we better cut to the chase.
--> ''Cut to Sam and Max running from the tribe of angry New Guinea Pigs.''
--> '''Max''': Cut to the chase? So ''that's'' what it means!
* MythologyGag: ''Bad Day On the Moon'' was based directly on a story in the original comic, which is, at the same time, based in one of the original comics Steve Purcell drew as a kid. The episode has Max {{lampshade}} this fact by holding up a copy of said comic which the original ''Bad Day On the Moon'' comic was based and proudly proclaiming "The preceding joke was originally conceived back in 1978."
* NeverMessWithGranny: Max's, I mean Sam's Granny Ruth, who works at a ''maximum security prison'' on [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Blood Island]]. The duo visit her on Christmas Eve just as the prisoners attempt a jailbreak. True to this trope, Granny kicks seventeen types of ass to get the rapscallions back into place.
* NeverSayDie: Averted with extreme prejudice. Sam and Max constantly talk about about cheating death, brushes with death, etc.
* NobodyCanDie: Averted once, otherwise played straight thanks to {{unexplained recover|y}}ies. Max is vaporized in the adaptation of "Bad Day on the Moon"
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: Harvey Atkin's Sam voice seems to be heavily based on [[Series/TheAddamsFamily John Astin's]].
* ThePasswordIsAlwaysSwordfish: LampShaded in ''The Thing That Wouldn't Stop It''.
* PermaStubble: Max gains this while he has his helmet in ''We drop at Dawn''.
* PragmaticAdaptation
* PreviouslyOn: Spoofed in the very first episode.
* RealityWarper: Gary.
* RunningGag: The fighting over who gets to answer the phone is also expanded to answering the door as well. In ''We drop at Dawn'' they fight over open the instructions of their mission in a determinated hour. Also, Max manages to actually ''win'' twice. But there ware extenuating circumstances. First was ''A Glitch in Time'': he'd messed up time so that Sam had become a monk. It's especially funny because he cringed right before he picked it up, insinuating he expected to lose. The second time, the caller is Lorne, THE FRIEND FOR LIFE.
** Also as a CouchGag of sorts, every intro sequence in the first episodes featured a character that had no idea who Sam and Max were.
--->'''Monkey:''' "Monkeys on skates? This truly is the dawn of evolution!"
--->'''Monkey Elder:''' "And we have Sam and Max: Freelance Police, to thank for it!"
--->'''Monkey:''' "Sam and who?"
* ShoutOut: Sweet caviar nestled into the fur of a giant moon bear, are there shout outs. There's at least a couple every episode. There are just too many to name. From a whole episode of spy shout outs, to the monster movie shout outs, you have to watch the show if you want to know all of them.
** The Glazed Macguffin making machine looks like [[NothingButTrouble Mr. Bonestripper]]
** A [[Series/DoctorWho Dalek]] statue appears [[http://www.majhost.com/gallery/Blarg/Artwork/adfasdafa/samandmaxandadalektoo.png in the background]] for a few frames in "The Trouble with Gary".
** And from ''The Friend for Life'', [[Main/RedSkull the Crimson Bonehead.]]
* SlippedTheRopes: Sam and Max due this repeatedly in the last episode of the series, because they're bored.
* TheSmurfettePrinciple: Darla the Geek (even ''she'' was originally meant to be a boy).
* StylisticSuck: Sam and Max's failed pilot ''"I Dream of Weenies"'', which is done in the style of an old Hanna-Barbara cartoon, complete with corny LaughTrack.
* SuperNotDrowningSkills: It's part of their abilities as Cartoon Characters
--> '''Sam''': [[MediumAwareness It's a cartoon]], jarhead! We have remarkable lung capacity!
* SuspiciouslySpecificDenial: From ''That Darn Gator'':
--> '''Max''': We visit him many times after that
--> '''Sam''': And not because he swallowed our keys and we're waiting to the nature to do its thing!
** On a sign: Perfectly Normal Industries (And By No Means A Military Complex)
* TimeTravel: ''A Glitch in Time'', which include a bit SetRightWhatOnceWentWrong flavor and the obligatory meeting with their soft, marketable younger selves.
* TitleThemeTune
* ToServeMan: The Uglions
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